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Three things to remember when taking the GMAT

The GMAT is a very difficult and long test. Many students get frustrated or overwhelmed when taking it, but it is important to remain calm. Here are some things to keep in mind while taking the test.

1. It is computer adaptive

When taking the GMAT, remember that it is computer adaptive. Because of this, it will be very difficult to gauge how well you are doing during the test. If you come across a series of difficult questions that you don't know how to answer, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are doing poorly. In fact, it could mean that you are doing very well and thus the test is sending you difficult questions. Because you can't tell, the best thing you can do for yourself is remain calm and remind yourself of this fact.

2. There's always a faster way

The GMAT, especially the quantitative section, often requires creative problem solving. This means that doing the problem in the most straightforward way isn't always the best option. There are often faster ways to solve quant problems with strategies like estimation, back solving, testing numbers and plugging in values. If you find yourself tackling a problem in a way that will likely take longer than two minutes when taking the GMAT, pause for a few seconds. Ask yourself, “Is there a faster way to complete this problem?”

3. Breathe

People can get flustered and nervous when taking the GMAT, which can lead to mistakes. It is important to remain calm as much as you can. Taking a deep breath every few questions can help do this. You can also help yourself remain calm by completing adequate GMAT preparation before the test, and doing at least five full-length practice exams. Finally, make sure that you take full advantage of both optional breaks that are offered during the actual GMAT.

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